Mimir:Spring 2016 Illya Kovarik Log

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Week Ending February 8, 2016

Task

For the first week, the task was getting situated returning to school after a loooong absence,as I had been working my way through various positions in industry.

Results

Nothing much for starts! The first 1/2 hour of the first class I was lost, to be honest. Don't have a programming background. Just done some rudimentary instrument control programming for data acquisition.


Plan

Generally speaking, we want to create a textbook which mirrors the class. We won't write the whole book within a semester, obviously. A solid template though would be a good contribution. Previous attempts seemed to lack structure. Actually, no real plan just yet.

Concerns

Writing a text book is usually a multi-year project. Never done it before. Dedication pages in the opening pages of a book usually thank everyone for their patience(!). We are only 2 grad students this time around so perhaps even less will get done than before. Yet, I think if we can find a 'grove' it will flow easy and make sense to us and others who follow and perhaps after a few semesters a genuine book will emerge.

Week Ending February 15, 2016

Task

Reviewing and parsing out what previous groups attempted.

Results

I see a lot of decent material. Looks like second group did essentially a restart from what the first did. One can follow the line but it bounces around. Not edited to a coherent voice.

Plan

NOT a good idea to start again from scratch and likely wind up with another unfinished attempt which the next guys might not find useful. I don't think it'd be bad to grab whatever is useful from previous and combine all into the new direction.

Concerns

Staying focused on small (bit-sized) pieces and not being overwhelmed by the task at hand, ie. 'shoot for the stars and then trip on the shoelaces'. In other words, break it down into small sections. The template methodology is probably the best approach. I mean not just a more detailed outline but an example chapter to seed the project along.

Week Ending February 22, 2016

Task

We discussed the next step to come up with a type of template from which the rest is modeled. This seed project method works great in hardware circuit design, the project setups are always the same and you just swap out the schematic details. All the housekeeping structure details, like page headers, title blocks, etc. are the same and don't need to be reinvented. The thinking is that the same might apply here?

Results

Thinking about this for a bit and re-re-reviewing what's already been written. Wondering whether a book is actually written like this. Whether a GOOD book can be written like this? The class notes are also moving along nicely and taking shape. What more are we really trying to add here?

Plan

Not sure.

Concerns

A good amount of this template setup has already been done in the outline Prof Jonas has set up. Is the template really a great idea? Should we just dive in and start writing?

Week Ending February 29, 2016

Task

Task we agreed on was to "come up with a template"

Results

Having my doubts about this template 'engineering approach' to writing a book with all the form and structure first and letting content follow somehow.

Plan

I think to discuss about just grabbing a chapter and getting going and seeing how that works.

Concerns

Essentially a few weeks into the class and nothing overwhelming yet accomplished here. Might perhaps be a good idea to just pick a chapter and dive in and not worry about methodology, templates and overall structure. Enough had already been provided. The leading thought at this point is that form and structure would follow. I don't know this material and I'm learning it as I go along. So this is not a distillation of what I know, as most books would be usually written. This is more about notes and that's the quagmire -- we already have the class notes.

Week Ending March 7, 2016

Task

Will suggest just grabbing a chapter and running with it. The form and template we had thought about is largely provided and anything more detailed isn't really practical and even seems to be getting in the way of progress.

Some general suggestions though (maybe this is the mythical template after all!):

- Explicit reasoning and logic written in such a way that anyone who would be led to read this subject could actually also understand this book. Nothing I hate more than explanations which skip large blocks or make assumptions with "it can easily be shown that..." and there's nothing easy or clear about figuring out what was meant. Reader loses confidence that the book isn't so clear and writer maybe isn't so clear about the material themselves! We don't read technical books to be impressed by the author. It is also very difficult to be so clear. The reason we're writing this book is exactly because there are scant few books out there on the subject. Yet, one would think, books on programming languages (?!...), there should be tons of them out there being what a central topic it is.

- No verbose and trivial explaining. If one line will do, let it be so.

- Impersonal style with no reference to "self" or "the author". Yet, we want a conversational type of style with some pep to it which is readable, not a dry tone which drags on.

- Examples and anecdotes to add some life.

- UML Diagrams drawn in Violet.

- Code snippets, although I think they should be of general nature and minimal, written in Notepad++. If they are claimed to run, they absolutely have to run without errors!!

- If any pictures, then they should be .jpg

- Some kind of proof-reading mechanism... [TBD - Wait until we have something more to worry about.]


Results


Plan


Concerns

Week Ending March 21, 2016

Task


Results

Busy at work. Parts came in to evaluate and need to clear for customer samples by end of month. No progress on Mimir.


Plan


Concerns

Week Ending March 28, 2016

Task

Started edits on grammar section. Went off into the weeds reading about Panini, an Indian known for his Sanskrit grammar. Whereas it is true this might be the basis for most all grammar, including computer grammars, this was probably not the greatest use of time towards the Mimir project on hand, as I look in retrospect.


Results

Good ideas maybe, but none translated into action.

Plan

Continue on next week.

Concerns

Time marches on.

Week Ending April 4, 2016

Task


Results


Plan


Concerns


Week Ending April 11, 2016

Task

Regroup and limit project scope.

Results

At Dan's (wise) suggestion we met briefly with Prof Jonas to discuss the remaining task and how it seems like things aren't going so well and what exactly we can do to recover or finish with a useful contribution. Prof wants to see only one chapter but one chapter done well and completed. That seems manageable and doable.

Plan

Focusing only on Chapter 2 and trying to get it to the level which would serve as a model for future additions. This week we have a tough homework (for me at least) due for next week and so I'm not planning on spending much time writing. I'll just look at where we are and what is there and what my best contribution could be.

Concerns

Spring break might have been the time to catch up or get back on track but that didn't happen. Not much time remaining in the semester. Also, things are getting busier and more difficult.

Week Ending April 18, 2016

Task

Chapter 2 looks like a good chapter to build on, there is good substance to it.


Results


Plan

Coordinate with Dan who's doing what on the remaining. Maybe take a printed copy and mark-up.

Concerns

Week Ending April 25, 2016

Task


Results

I went over and sanitized some of the language to give a more consistent voice. Sections are roughly divided into three and the first section I think has been improved for better readability.


Plan

Go over markup with Dan. I am planning on giving a tweak to the language so that it flows a little better. A lot of times I wind up discarding a lot of extra words to reduce to a more readable form, so I hope I don't chop up up too much.

Concerns

Running out of time!

Week Ending May 2, 2016

Task
Keep editing. Not sure how to say more.


Results
I have cleaned up about 2/3 of the text, improving clarity and removing all the "you" references. I think it's for the better.


Plan
Clean up and voice the remaining text.


Concerns

Getting close to the end. Not sure when the last day is or when cut-off is.

Week Ending May 9, 2016

Task


Results


Plan


Concerns